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Top 100 in finance: SEC's Mary Jo White rules, Apple's Tim Cook axed

October 15, 2013|By Stuart Pfeifer
  • Mary Jo White has been chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission since April.
Mary Jo White has been chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission… (Chip Somodevilla / Getty…)

This has been a good year for Mary Jo White, the new chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and not such a good one for Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook and New York hedge fund manager Bill Ackman.

That’s the view of Worth magazine, which pegged White as the most powerful person in finance, ahead of President Obama and Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke.

The magazine this week released an updated list of the 100 most influential people in finance, introducing White at the top of the list, while Cook and Ackman got the ax. Bill Gates, Peter Thiel and Warren Buffett fell, but stayed in Worth's top 100.

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“This year’s list is compelling in many ways, starting with the fact that a woman, SEC Chair Mary Jo White, holds the top spot for the first time,” said Worth’s editor, Richard Bradley. “What we saw over the last 12 months was really a clash of the titans — the most powerful figures at the country's biggest banks squaring off against the most powerful regulators and prosecutors in Washington and New York.”

Worth said White has made an impression in just a few months as head of the SEC.

“White has vigorously pushed investigations, enforcement actions and prosecutions against financial sinners. In just six months, she has brought charges against more than 40 companies, municipalities and individuals,” the magazine said. “She has also sought admissions of wrongdoing, a break from the flimsy SEC policy of allowing defendants to “neither admit or deny” alleged crimes.”

Ackman was removed from the list after his fund, Pershing Square Capital Management, lost hundreds of millions of dollars betting on the recovery of J.C. Penney and the downfall of Herbalife Ltd.

Ackman’s nemesis, Carl Icahn, a billionaire investor who took a highly publicized stake in Herbalife after Ackman accused the company of running a pyramid scheme, is No. 33 on the magazine’s list.

Janet Yellen, Obama’s nominee to run the Federal Reserve, jumped 16 spots to No. 21.

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